I like this game. Sure, it's simple - but that's the joy of it. It plays extremely fast, and doesn't require loads of brain power - that's both good and bad. Truly fits a niche - and so will always be in my collection. But I'm not anxious to play.
A really excellent two-player (at its best, play with 4!) light thematic (historical!) war game. I really enjoy the asymmetry of the combatants - and the card driven mechanics are highly thematic (albeit abstracted). The design and details are excellent. Very smooth in execution and beautiful in presentation. Enjoyable for sure!
Very fine game and I really love the theme which is well integrated and wonderfully researched. I'm not sure why it's so highly praised, however. The mechanics are nifty, but it is in the end reduced to a tug of war, area control game. Replayability - yes, up until you've seen and understand all the cards. It is considerably snappier than Twilight Struggle - but both have their nice features. I do want to play it a few more times and it remains my medium weight 2-player game of choice (of which I could use a few more).
You need at least 3 players to make this game work, but it is a very good (and easy!) card game to play. It is non-threatening to non-gamers, but it can be mean - but accidentally so. There's strategy in how you play out your hand of cards. Over all, fine game.
3 plays in a row in the first outing. I've now played with 3, 4, 5 and 6 players. Initially, we were all very confused about the game (and none of us are slouches at gamin') having no idea on strategy. It's clear the first game will end with many cards unable to be played or not helpful at all - e.g. learning that new resources really *can't* be added by the third age is extremely important. Combination are really confusing at first. You have to keep in mind several things: your resources, your neighbors resources, cards that produce other cards, and then evaluate each card based on cost - i.e. can you pay for it with your own resources or do you have to buy from a neighbor? Do you take this opportunity to build your Wonder? There are many variables - it results in a bit of AP as you trim the possible cards down to the few that produce sufficient benefit for the cost.
Given all this, I don't think this is a gateway game at all - it's more a filler for gamers. Speed of play is definitely a huge bonus here since you can dismiss the first game as a learning experience and give it another go without pause.
One key we discovered was using the included scoring pad. It's *far* easier to score everyone card type by card type - with one person recording the values for each: "Ok. What did you get for purple cards?" I'll be sure to do this from now on.
In the end, this game is fine and certainly fits a niche - those times you're waiting for others to arrive or filling time between things. But is it a game I'm anxious to play? Not really. It isn't terribly interesting.
Although my immediately family doesn't care for it, I like this one quite a bit. It has such a simple rules system and thoughtful play. The take back is the way cards come out can hose and help players a bit too much perhaps. Nothing to be done about it - just a warning for future plays as you can set yourself up better if you are aware of how the A, B and C cards present themselves. But anyhow, great game in the weight of Settlers, Stone Age and TtR.
All the positive buzz on BGG is right on. This game is extremely solid with lots of re-playability. The rules and mechanics are solid, the variety of strategy is wonderful, and it plays zippy. It's worker placement American style with loads of paths to explore. Good game.
I'm pleased with the results. To be sure, there are negatives. The rulebook is poor given the relative simplicity of play, the components sprawl all over the place when playing and makes for an intimidating experience, the number of cards feels completely over the top - like a movie with a large budget but no editor - and in general, there's nothing terribly novel about the mechanics.
On the up side, it has good pace (but plays long), flowed well and made sense. It does have a worthy depth to explore and I'd like to know it better. This game somehow "fits" well and plays smooth - great construction, not just in components, but in mechanics. The theme is cute and well integrated. My wife says she'd try it one more time and my daughter says she prefers Stone Age. Friends find it "alright" so far, but overly complicated (over powering by the number of components and cards) for what it is. As for me, I remain ready to play again. Something keeps drawing me back.
Definitely a really good game and I'm anxious to play it more now. It isn't quite as light as Ticket to Ride - but for me, that's fine. I was looking for another game nearly the same complexity - and the turn action and what you do in the game is really easy. It's the strategy that is much more difficult in the game. Lots of watching other players. But it is true that a turn of the cards can ruin your day with little chance of recovery.
I really like this one. It is the utmost balance played out in all directions. It nearly smells like a SdJ winner (and it is) with perfectly aligned mechanics: from the purchasing of tiles with limited money to the layout of walls for scoring. This is gaming-friendly butter - rich, and tasty.
It's the theme and production that starts it off on a good foot. Fantastic illustrations and great components. The game play is interesting too - as you push your luck and make your way through cards. Tokens are gathered to modify your rolls, buy cards and power your special abilities. Since dice are spent to gather victory points or resources, you never feel like you have a wasted roll. Of course, bad rolls can still leave the feeling that the game is handed to one player over another - but you have to take that in stride in this type of experience. Over all, really enjoyable!
Adds new cards and a new dice color! Fun! The new cards that effect play aren't great - because of the way the game functions, someone is going to get hosed on their turn - being able to do absolutely nothing. That is bad for sure. Might not play with those cards from now on.
My mind keeps changing on this one. It is in a word: classic. So yes, I do play it at times - it's just so easy to play while lying down or while being completely disinterested. Great party-style game without trivia, friendly and non-threatening, scales way up comfortably with large numbers of players. On the other hand, it's not really a game I long for as it feels rather silly - all fine when in the right party mood. Else, it sits on the shelf.
It's another sprawling affair - this time with cards that take up alot of space. The rules system is interesting, but a touch unrefined. The card distribution rules are especially odd and overly done for such a simple effect. Also, it's excruciating to get money early on which dampens fun - until you understand the way of trade with vegetables and merchants . Later, money is rolling - which also dampens fun. The best moments are the middle game when you start to turn the corner from difficulty to smooth sailing. So all in all, a mixed bag for me. Additional plays are continuing to confirm and in fact lower my impression. Might end up on the trade pile.
This game delivers exactly what I was hoping: an easy playing game with rules you can explain in just a few minutes (minus the special objective abilities which can be detailed as they appear). There is a bit of thinking - just enough to entertain and not overwhelm - so it is more than 'gamer bingo'. I like it.
This is a nice 2-player card game. Nice amount of strategy, but not a brain-burner. Doesn't feel random surprisingly even though it is nearly completely determined by the draw of cards. Pleasant is the best word for it. Gentle. And then suddenly, really mean! I like.
I pretty much avoid word games (although I tolerate UpWords). However, this game is just really fun. It's also frantic because you're racing against everyone else at the table. But it's whispy cool because you can build any combination of words that fit your mood. Bad draws (like any word game) can ruin your chances of victory. Still, I enjoy forming odd combination of words with difficult letter stacks. It's at the top of words games for me.
Another one I had on my want list was this one by Space Cowboys. It's quite light in design - equal to Ticket to Ride. Might classify as a gateway game. It has crazy good production values - metal coins (!) plastic ships (that can carry cubes!) and extremely pretty illustrations. Top to bottom a fantastic product. Very approachable.
The game is simple: play a card from your hand of three. Each card moves a navy ship, your pirate ship and your merchant ship a number of spaces. Your goal is to use your navy ship to sink opponent's pirate ships, your pirate ship to steal goods (and possibly sink) opponent's merchant ships (and then bury their stolen booty on an island for money) and use your merchant ship to sail across the board to turn in their cargo for money. What's money used for? To buy your display of cards - leading up to a final goal card that signals the end of the game.
The display of cards you have are unique to you (dealt out at the start of the game). As you buy them, they give you unique abilities - moving your ships further, allowing them to 'break' rules (slightly), get more money for deliveries - things like this. Very nice for replay-ability and surprise distinctions for each player. There are one-time bonus cards too that you can use tactically to get ahead of your opponents ships - out run or out maneuver them.
This all adds up to great, easy fun! I was seeking out such a game to play with non-gamers and I think this one is very well done. I like it alot and would love to play again soon.
Abstract of course, but frustrating - perhaps in a good way. It's interesting that you can anticipate what new tiles you might pull, but not when you will have them. This leads to some rough decisions on where to place. Every spot can be covered by 3 tiles (not including your wild tile) - but if two have already been played, how long will you risk for a third to appear? It's alright - and certainly gets off the table in a hurry.
Tenative rating based on 2 plays. I'm not an abstract fan, but got this one for playing with the wife. It it smartly designed - one of those obvious, simple rule sets - plastic bits that fit well on a made-to-place-no-wiggle board. The strategy will favor those with spatial skills and smarts. In general, I like it, but it's not something I long to play.
Good, fast paced, easy to explain - except for the oddity of keeping your cards in order and the simple fact you can 'harvest at ANY TIME'. But other than that - a game that I frequently trot out to play. It scales well to 6 people (never tried it with 2). It's a card game - so for gateway groups, it works. I like it!
It's an interesting beast that hinges on getting the right cards at the right time. I like the mechanics for the most part - the multiple use of cards is puzzly fun. But over all, it's not going to rise to my favorite Feld game.
Of the 'chewing-gum sized Chris Handy games' this one isn't too bad. You move your 'bus' around by playing cards, picking up and dropping off passengers. It's really no more than a shared puzzle experience - the tension created by the race quality of the game. It's ok, but not great and not something I would recommend to play.
Riotously fun and supports a reasonably large number of players. Plays zippy fast with a frothy simple rule set - yet smooth for all that. Quite fun with all ages and ideas. Great for ending an evening (or day!) of gaming. I like it.
I'm still surprised by this one. I got it based on BGG ratings and praise. And I'm not at all disappointed. All non-gamers enjoy it. And gamers love it too. Simple - but just a touch of strategy. And MEEPLES! A few of the expansions are really nice and more tiles in general it a good thing (even though it extends the play time considerably). This games does not play well with more than 4 players. Really bad with 6 (so don't bother with that expansion).
Highly balanced, mechanically excellent Feld game. This one shows interlocking systems in a marvelous way with bowls of originality. However, it's likely only appealing to the true Euro-gamer who enjoys themeless adventures that are titillating simply because they offer up so many options with excellent rewards. I like this one very much.
This game brought me back into board games. Everybody probably says that. Still, I've introduced this game to many newbie gamers and all love it. It has become a staple game for my family and there's little doubt I'll be playing the rest of my life - and will always enjoy it.
Rather complicated in really just one way: there are alot of buildings with a variety of costs and implications. So each turn is truly full of options - and that can make for slow play. Still, very tasty in the amount of options each turn - lots of paths to try out. Additional plays continue to show this game to be very good indeed.
Very enjoyable gateway Ameri-trash themed worker placement game. With a vikings! You collect resources (including vikings represented by dice) and ship out to attack monsters, gaining points. There's not alot of strategy really, but there is clear conflict between the spots and turn order drives the tension. I really like it and will play it several more times yet because it's very easy to get into. Fun!
Exceedingly smooth and absolutely tight, this is a solid early Euro that has a very fast play time in its favor and a nice double-layer area control mechanic. It's essentially an area control abstract. If that's your cup of tea, look no further - this one is a winner.
I'm pleased and surprised by this game. I especially enjoy the fact my wife likes it - so it is easy and appeals to many. It does have some simple and good feeling mechanics (e.g. role selection). It plays in a reasonable amount of time. Good game, but not great as it can last too long with more players, but doesn't play as well with fewer.
As a civ style game, it has several true Euro mechanics in the politics cards and wonderfully original methods for growing cities - the voice of the people is particularly engaging and original. Good components combined with nicely arranged, excruciating turn decisions make this game tense. Other players blundered into poor city starting positions, leaving them crushed and out of the end game running. But still, our game ended with a tie breaker by 2 gold pieces! The take back from all of this is the length of play and the brutality vs. new players.
Exceedingly well designed, tight economy and tough choices in hand management. There are several paths to points and they hinge on taking advantage of opportunity while making your way progressively (and quickly!) across the map. Plays fine with 2, but better with 4 - although a full table of 5 might feel too crowded. Incredibly good game - feels like a classic to me.
I have my own print-and-play version of this one. I really enjoy it conceptually. It plays very fast as a crafty bluffing (lying?) game. It's easy to explain. Not sure how many times I will play it in the future because I keep forgetting I have this one!
I have to say I am shocked how much I enjoyed this one. I was intrigued by the artistic design, but I was very impressed with the mechanical weaving of play. It has layers and lines of scoring that require very careful planing. It is terribly easy (it seems) to be one resource or one dollar out of sorts - a sampling of the balance this game has achieved. I really enjoy the theme too as it is completely built into the design. I do feel the starting cards can be harshly unfair and it is a challenge to teach, but beyond that, definitely one I wish to play several more times.
Fun and straight forward party game that plays just like Apples to Apples. But with more laughter because it's built into the cards themselves. However, I worry about the replay value once all the cards have been seen. I keep it around for a fun quick laugh - and my kids like to bring it out for their parties.
I think it's pretty fun over all. My concern is the luck factor is quite high. This isn't bad per se, but if it means the game doesn't offer alot of variety, then that's rather poor. I like the spacial aspect of building and trying to find a shape that is most likely to pay off. So it's not bad and I'll likely play it a few more times.
Frantic simultaneous play around an ideal theme and uproarious laughter - this game gives you the feel of Diner Dash with the sound and pace of really working in a fast food diner! Similar to Escape!, you'll be exhausted after a play and then want to immediately play again! The rules are very easy to understand. The only draw back is the mechanic of passing tokens - which is *so* easy to forget in the midst of taking actions. I also wish it played more than 4 (this one draws spectators), but I don't think it would work. Other than that, no complaints. Just alot of fun!
An enjoyable and beautiful game, exceedingly easy to explain. As all games of this measure, the crowd greatly determines the level of fun. Still, far more imaginative than other games of this ilk. Definitely has a long term place in my collection!
Very good indeed. I like speed of course and the idea of building a custom deck of cards while playing the game - flat out brilliant. It is simplistic which is (of course) both good - making it easy to teach - and bad - making it somewhat repetitive. Although I must say it isn't repetitive to me just yet. It'll certainly get a ton of plays. And I think will fit the lunch crowd just perfect as this game plays in 20-30 minutes.
Note: After many more plays, I disagree with the notion that this game is formulaic - although admittedly, it plays much more like that on-line. I still find it challenging to optimize my purchases - which is very nice indeed.
It really looks fun. It sometimes plays fun. But you can die in less than 5 turns. That's not fun. Then you wait until everyone else finishes. Still, it screams good theme and is representative of the good quirky dungeon material of the 80's. And that's why I have it. But I really don't want to play it. But then again, sometimes I do.
Smart mechanics of taking actions, easy to see the strategies yet complex enough to warrant several plays of discovery. The combination of actions is well done with loads of flourishes such as pulling tokens off the map to gain actions and double-action buildings. Replayability is certain with the randomized set up. Love the theme (even with the risky use of slavery). And wow, it plays very fast even with a full table! No doubt this will get many plays from me for some time to come. Lots to explore in this game.
Early on, this game is wildly fun. But if you play it enough times, you'll understand there is a fairly routine way to defeat the game. Then you find yourself tossing in curses and treasures - and even adding a few gems. This is all nice in that you can increase the difficulty. But after several plays, the excitement dampens and the game loses interest. More of a cute exercise - and I appreciate it for that. But this one likely does not have long legs.
It is in fact very good. I was worried about the AP possibilities in this one - and it is overwhelming for a moment with all the meeples and tiles. But once explained, I think it's pretty approachable. The paths to victory are surprising. And the scores are generally very close. My second game was 141-139-139 and I don't think a one of us traveled down the same scoring path. It certainly was surprising. Gorgeous production, plenty of replay with Djinnis and my version (second printing?) replaced the offending 'slaves' with 'fakirs' - much appreciated for approachability makes for a great experience. Love it.
Pitch car with a western theme! Excellent! Like Pitchcar, this really is a toy with amazing production values. Brilliantly elegant ideas such as duels and entering/exiting buildings. Everything is just lovely here and it *feels* like a western showdown in every way. For kids and adults to play together, this is a winner.
For a fast card game, there's nothing better in my collection (well, except maybe No Thanks!). It's great too because my girls can play it. And we all love the art on the cards. It's rock solid and fits the niche of fast to teach, fast to play, instant set up time. Every collection should have this one.
Fun worker placement with some original concepts and wonderfully fresh theme makes for absolute joy in gaming. Family version loved by the family, but the expansions add to the interest and open alternate strategies. However, even with these, the strategy remains shallow and simple. Though the decisions are tense, it feels perhaps too simplistic in the end. Still, good (enough) game and will continue to play.
I can completely understand why a great number of people are thrilled with this one. It's a game where you can endlessly (?) explore the combination of cards. The mechanics are interesting (although I can see shades of similar things in Innovation) and run fairly smooth. But for me, it isn't the kinda game I long to play. Still, I'll keep it around because for this type of game, it's very well put together. And hey, I *do* like the Black Box version just fine. Very clean.
This game will require more plays to truly appreciate, but I do just *love* the mechanisms in play. I needed a really great area control game and this one does indeed seem like the one. It's vicious, but that doesn't rattle me - sometimes, it's just the thing. Even though I have all the expansions bundled in this one box, I've never played with anything but the base game. Feels like enough for me. Classic.
This isn't my normal type of game. I like Euros that are slick and tight with some original sparkle. La Granja is none of that. It's a sprawling cacophony of interlocking bits. It mirrors many other games - Agricola in growing crops, Yspahan in dice allocation of actions, countless Euros in converting one thing to another. This game will confuse and thus punish first time players which limits appeal. But with all that, I still want to play it again - and maybe a few times. It has lots of area to explore for sure.
Like many card games, it's fine by me - but not great. I think there is a bit of strategy in play and the humor of the game definitely carries it along in the right crowd. But I can take it or leave it in the end. It's a good kids/group game - so I'll hang on to it a bit longer because of that.
I really enjoy playing Haggis with my wife. It's a game we can both be competitive at and it plays at the right pace. I actually think this is a better managed game than Tichu to which it owes alot. I truly love the face up wild cards as a decision point - followed up by the low and high in-hand bombs - brilliant! For a fairly meaty, but classic card game, this is my favorite for two.
It has this really great gimmick, but this is also its downfall. I've heard if you play it with the same group several times, it becomes mechanical and loses its charm. I can see that, but probably won't get enough plays in to see that happen. So kinda fun, but not approachable enough for gateway gamers (I think). Probably not going to last in my collection.
Solid game. It is comparable to Endeavor - and it probably is better for all that. Certainly the strategy is more convoluted and much more confrontational. Lots of take-that in this one. My only take away is there is seemingly a very important early game in the extra action section - and if one also controls the neighboring cities, that player is in for a leading scoring position. Makes the early game a bit too obvious and requires opponents to play against them. In any event, I really like this one. Subsequent games are making me like it even more. When you get a table of nearly equal experience, this game is very, very good indeed.
For me, this is a solid improvement over Agricola. It plays very smoothly and feels well edited and play tested. The rule set is straight forward - all the action and interest are found on the building cards. The theme carries the game and aids to understanding effective play - e.g. wheat is turned into bread and can be used as food or perhaps sold for profit. The only strike I have against it is the time it takes to play. A 4-player affair easily takes over 3 hours - but the short version can get done in about 2. It never feels slow or dull or repetitive - so the time does move by without complaint. Still, at this point, it's one of my favorite games!
I was a backer of this game. I like it. It has really fun art which gives it a neat albeit quirky fantasy feel. Very evocative. The problem I have is there's not alot of variety in the experience I expect. There are some decent decisions along the journey - when to spend resources, when to buy off a monster, and such. But beyond this, it's really just a romp. At that, it's just ok.
This one is dudes-on-a-map in general. The board is a constructed affair of hexagon tiles. You start with your three homeland spots and there are unrevealed contentious tiles in the middle between the players. What's the trick here? Build-a-bag-of-cubes. It's like deck building, but it's building a bag of colored cubes. There's 6 colors in the game and each represents a type of technology (if you will): red is fight, green is move, orange is advance technology, etc. And you have these gauges on your player board which require certain cube colors. On your turn, you have 3 cubes to place. If you fill a gauge, you get to take an action or two. So it's all about gaining more cubes, dropping them in your bag, and starting to build a ratio that works for you. There are additional cards to acquire that have their own gauges - so there's variety there.
Combat is simple: it's one of the actions you can take. You generate a point of attack and that kills an opponent's guy (or a neutral 'ghost' piece). If you kill more than one from an opponent, you start to rack up victory points.
The game ends when one or more of the end game conditions are achieved by any players. Then you add up points and that's that.
Really, it's very good. It supports up to 6 players, but played great with 3 - and I'd never play it with more than 4 due to the time between turns. It delivers what you'd expect and does it in a very smart way. I heard it compared to Eclipse in that it brought smooth mechanics to a theme-game. Very good comparison I'd say and great point. I'd like to see more of this in the future.
This game delivers what you'd expect - and does so very well. It has all the look and conflict of the classic Risk game, but with a completely different and devilish system beneath based on financing. It feels classic and old school, yet it plays superbly. It lacks some tension in my estimate, but repeated plays may remedy that as I get a feel for the flow. I like it quite well over all.
Very tightly designed Euro balancing a well implemented theme with original feeling mechanics: from the player order to picking actions, using persons while balancing your growing palaces. The events will definitely keep you on your toes. Agonizing decisions each round force players to look ahead three or four rounds. You will suffer losses without a doubt, but thoughtful planning will win the day. How do you reliably win this game? I have no idea. And I love it!
This is a quite complex game with simple rules. Everything is on the cards and every card is unique. The interplay with opponents makes the game shine - so it is best (for me) with 4 players. The flaws are around the swingy nature of the game - at times, one or two players can run away with the game, leaving others far behind. Some cards can be exceedingly unbalanced. But the game is large, chaotic and worth exploring. I like it alot!
This one is well known perhaps (certainly is around BGG) and I had high expectations. It certainly did not disappoint! The mechanics are very smart - move your stack, drop/pick up a disk to take the target action. Pay other players if they are already there. And to spice it up a bit, have special pieces to move around (and capture). There are 16 location boards that can be arrange in countless ways - so a level of replay-ability for sure. After that, alot of standard Euro goodness: 5 different resources, convert to money and then to rubies (the objective of the game is to get 5 rubies). It allows for a variety of plans to be made, paths to be taken - and just a touch of random luck (a few locations use dice) and a dash of confrontation (you can get in other's ways).
Anyhow, very deserving I think of the Spiel gamer's award. Very happy to have this one and will be anxious to play.
Excellent. My wife and I played this twice right out of the box. It's really easy to get the idea behind the game, but as you play, you realize there's alot more going on. It's light, but bright. It's the best 2-player card game I own.
Surprisingly great game that plays in about 30-40 minutes even with 4 or 5 people, it's Pirate's Cove light. It is very nicely produced - great components. The wooden dice are over sized and easy to handle. Great for kids too since the mechanics are gentle and speedy. The luck is evened out by your card draw decisions. Lovely design. I'm very glad I have it!
It is very cutthroat with the animal cards, but I still really like this one. It *might* have a run away leader problem and it certainly is entangled with card flows - i.e. if you get the cards, you win. If not, you will not. This is not to say there isn't any skill here because I believe there certainly is. But the form it takes is risk estimatation - in drawing more cards, in keeping certain combinations. Still, I like it quite a bit.
Dang color blind problem - but I want to like this game. I still play it - even though I'm terrible at it. It's more of a pure family/kids game in every way. Frantic, grabby, speedy fun. So I like it even though the color problem hampers a full experience.
I liked it. For a slam into your friend with fury in your eye, it is a bunch of fun. The miniatures in this game are amazing! Very asymmetrical as it unfolds and this bring reply value as you explore the various power-ups available. Very happy to have this one available for play. It is my go-to game for dudes on a map that plays in about 45-60 minutes.
Yep. This one is quite yummy. It's delivers exactly as advertised: a fast, friendly and fun dice throwing beat em' up monster game. Love it. The cards really add to replayability and frankly, make the entire game. But what's best is the production: completely awesome. I even love the stand up cardboard monsters. The art blows you away and is perfect for the job. Wonderful game.
This game has considerably grown with my past plays. There is indeed quite a bit of think inside the package - and it is deceptively packaged. Placement is forced upon you - but this is (I believe) only to speed the game along. It still leave you with many decisions - especially when you acquire special powers through the locations which opens up play considerably. Variable scoring combined gives an interesting replay value. The best feature? Speed. This game plays in about 20-30 minutes with experienced players. So I like it as a quick gateway style game. Very happy to have it and wife likes it.
I think for an easy to get into fantasy, this is the best way to do it. For balance, it swings alot. It starts off deceptively easy - too easy in fact. And then after a legend or two, you get dumped into the deep end of the pool. The game at that point becomes a stressful puzzle requiring repeated plays to solve. Not sure how many times I'm willing to do that. Such a technique works in a computer game, but given the over all set up and play time, not sure in a board game. Still, I like it and would like to see the expansions in English (I'm certain I'm not alone in that).
It is a smart little idea: buy letters that pay off when your opponents use them. And it tries to balance things out by curtailing payoff for long words. But still, if you can make long words, you're going to win this game. I'm not a word game fan, but I'm searching for a word game that I like to play with my wife. Letter Tycoon isn't quite it.
Very beautiful, but also well designed. It's indeed a thematic race to the Pacific, but the run is tight. The rules are intriguing and unique (at least to me) in that you spend a card to play a card (most commonly) - and you gain additional benefits based off the cards of your opponents. It is't a fast game, but it is very smooth in execution and decisions. Love it quite a bit and want to 'explore' it more.
Nice set collection game with a charming theme and simple rules. Plays fast and well - great, original filler. It has only a touch of screwage in it - just enough spice to give it some zip. Very enjoyable! But I have no one in my family who likes it. Perhaps its too odd in theme?
My first player was confusing, but the second play was quite nice. I like the simplicity of only a few types of cards (each clan has one ability). Having abilities that only act when the value is *lower* is a great way to make low and high cards (which count to strength) equally attractive and is smart. It is a bit confrontational at times and the card abilities are not entirely clear to a new player. The new version has what I consider very beautiful illustrations. Over all, a rather dry affair with just enough confusion to make it off-putting. Might go on the trade pile.
As everyone has said, this game is quite good. It isn't remarkable, however, but it is very well constructed and produced. The fantasy theme is completely pasted on as only titles and pictures tell you anything - mechanically, it is bone dry Euro - and yet still sits well. As with all ramp up the selection games (Agricola, Caylus, Endeavor, etc), the game tends to slow and creak as analysis settles in and options fan out. Our game had a king-maker situation at the end in which I had two options for my last play - either one of which determined the victor. There is also some aspects of upstream player order sniping off the parts you need - especially so if you are playing along similar strategy lines. And I could imagine some random roll out of buildings, Lords cards and Quests making the game miserable for some. But other than that, there isn't much to dislike. A solid work and I'd play it again, but I doubt it has much staying power.
This is a fine filler/gateway game. It plays so easy and is so easy to explain - and in my opinion makes no pretense to be anything else. There's preciously little strategy in it and it does punish players who are behind (this one encourages taking money from opponents - so the rich do get richer). The variants of dealing out 10 unique cards makes the game set up and play with more interest. Over all, I like it.
This is a thinking man's version of something akin to Runebound. Very tightly wound, there are a surprising amount of subtle rules to track (e.g. there are many location types and card types in the game) which leads to rules references and complexity. This is to be expected from any elaborate fantasy adventure game. I enjoyed it very much over all, and although it is true there is 'strategy' to the game, it's more a very well done adventure experience. The use of cards is smarter than I expected, but it certainly isn't a deck builder. More like a deck-driven action game. It takes a very long time to play out - which is expected as well, but exhausting. Still, very good game.
You have to take this game for what it is. It's a speedy push your luck die roller with a wonderful theme. I really enjoy it. My wife and I can play one after cleaning off the dinner table. Rules are completely trvial, the decisions are minor, and it takes just a few minutes to finish. For all that, it's perfect.
For a two player war game, there isn't any better. I love the play mechanic and the short play time (30-45 min) and for me, it's easier to get into than Battle Lore. In Memoir, you'll relive the days of old with green army men strewn across the hall - fond memories indeed. My only problem is finding people to play it with.
This game indeed meets the expectations of a fun pirate game. It may be difficult to win as a pirate, but I don't think that takes away from the sheer enjoyment (and surely a house-rule could fix this). There's a simple routine to playing, a rhythm that might become dry after several games - and simply sailing about buying and selling is early on an obvious strategy. But this game demands more than selling bananas and tobacco. For me, you need to raid merchant ships and escape thuggish frigates from nations with a bounty on your head. This is my favorite pirate/ship game so far.
For an RPG board game, I can't imagine anything better. This game is easy, highly thematic and wonderfully fun. The scenarios are exceedingly fresh and exciting. There are many surprises to find in the abilities and search cards. Combat is breezy fun - exciting without being drawn out or too brutal. All actions are natural and straight forward - without being overly simplistic. Over all, I love this one.
It's obvious why this is a darling: a zillion cards of which you'll typically see only a fraction in any given play. The simplicity of the actions belies the complexity of interactions between players. There is the limited pool of cards for purchase, but also the conflict in military values, stability and 'books' is very good between players. It does take some time to complete, but there is an anxious fun in seeing the next set of available progress cards. And oh the tension in keeping your civilization viable by balancing all resources needed! Everything runs lean - delightful!
EDIT: After several more plays, I'm having trouble finding any fault with this game. I love it! I'm also finding the 'B' side of civs to be curiously *easier* to play than the 'A' side.
EDIT: More plays in. The game is wearing a bit now. I still find it really good, but I've explored most of what it has to offer. Scoring high is a matter of tactics - taking advantage of opportunities presented - and little more than that. It remains tense to be sure!
I really enjoyed this latest offering from Matt Gerdts. This time out, the 'additional' actions cost more than just a coin - they cost one of your important assets: a ship. It makes for a more limited game and is better for it. Also, I really like the smooth phasing and ramping of costs - I even think the market works just fine. I imagine this game doesn't offer too many strategy lanes, but still, it is very tight and smart. Certainly true that experienced players will lose because of seating order or any one (minor) misplay. It's a knife walk. Perhaps too tight? Need more plays to tell.
This is a really smooth, easy to play Euro system - drawing out characters and playing simultaneously (and yet competing over important aspects). It has a fast race feeling of taking opportunities away from opponents while always building something unique for yourself. The end game scoring is very smooth as well - only resources, coins and a multiplier for guild houses and citizens. Excellent game in every respect.
It's a brain burner for sure and has a few quirks - feels like it could be a king maker. Hate the plastic coins and the entire board is confusing due to the odd geography of the canal. But for all that, it has an extremely nice play concept - quite smooth with actions that are fairly straight forward yet give a huge range of possibilities (thus the brain burning). Difficult to predict how to invest your money and you can make some bad moves early that are difficult to overcome. Anyhow, still really enjoyed it!
Exceedingly well designed and presented game. Perfect components, wonderfully simple in mechanics. Love the way the game unfolds as you play - and quite different each time too given the variety of start configurations. Fast, friendly with a well integrated theme - just a great game! Not sure on endurance over many plays, but so far, it's holding up well.
The only strike against it is the very real temptation (and even request!) for one person to control all the moves. This is especially noticeable during first plays for some while another is highly experienced.
I only have a few plays in, so things may change. I like the concept here, but the issue I'm having so far is the duration. You can get stuck in a rut trying to get above 5 cards if you lack cards that provide an additional draw (and this can happen). That in turn slows the entire game down - unable to score above 7, unable to get longer words, etc. But anyhow, I like the challenge of it and it is quite different than other word games. So alright in several ways, but not a favorite.
I got this game purely based on the delightful illustrations. The production quality is very good indeed (the coasters are an odd addition, but very nice in themselves). I boffed the rules on this several times in my first plays - the way cards are removed, the inverted scoring at the end - these are complicated bits to an otherwise should be simple game. I like it, but don't love it in the end - because it's a bit to upside down in thinking and this takes away from the potential charm. It also feels highly swayed by the draw of cards. So ok, but not great.
Very enjoyable yet straight forward two player race game. There are at least 3 lines of strategy here: collecting tiles for button income, collecting tiles for space coverage and managing your time on the track. It adds up to a highly engaging puzzle between opponents. The theme is beautifully rendered as well which only increases enjoyment. Lovely piece of work!
Wow what a pleasant surprise! It has the deck building ideals akin to Mage Knight - but a much reduced instruction set for play. It has a huge amount of variety (even surpassing Mage Knight) in cards and situations. Each character feels very unique. The scenarios are simply stacks of self-contained cards - but its sufficient to carry a slight story along if you're willing to read the flavor text. For me, it's my newest dungeon crawler. More variety than anything I've seen before and much faster. It represents much of the mechanical interest of an RPG, but with more structure, more smarts. Really like it.
Tasty components serve up a rich feast of fun. There's a bit of strategy too. It is mindless and fast - so just what I was looking for. It is a bit cut throat at times and a touch mathy. Not sure if it will last much longer in my collection. Just not a good place for it.
This game might forever be better than I can appreciate. My first play was extremely rough, second play improved my understanding. It isn't terribly complex in the end (although I feel the combat system is overwrought) and moves along steadily. It is perhaps a touch too tight in construction, but other than that, I can't knock any aspect. I like it as a two player war-euro, but it has little chances to get to my game table.
Superlative. It truly deserves the rank on the 'Geek. There's a few odd moments in the rules, but when you play, it's butter. My only take back from that is the computational energy needed to play - great computing minds will likely win the day. And this in turn falls into somewhat of a 'sameness' to play. For a mathy game - a genre I generally dislike - I find it surprisingly fun.
For all the possibilities and having this wonderful license, this game was either phoned in or just not thought through. The rules are crazy dumb in resolving between victors. The only decision you make is where to place your card - which in the end is determined only by chaos. Very bad indeed.
This is to board games what Bridge is to card games: It's the pinnacle. The design is intensely elegant and smart. Plays well (if a bit different) with 3, 4 or 5. One thing I will say is if you're experienced and playing with inexperienced, the game falls flat. You need equal competitors to garner enjoyment. However, it appears that it will always remain a classic with me.
I'm not a huge fan of word games, but this one plays brisk and is somewhat interesting. As is typical with card games, it all depends on your hand. Wife likes word games and likes this one. I try to avoid playing it in general.
For a dice game that is fun, friendly and fast, it's really great. It plays in perhaps 10 min (depending on the number of players) - especially so if you've played a few times. It's very approachable - anyone who enjoys Yahtzee is likely to love this one. And there is enough think to it - really all risk calculation. I really like it.
Classic game that I'm proud to own. This is essentially an optimization game and even boarder-line mathy. As such, I'm surprised that I like it as much as I do. I think it's the push your luck aspect that brings it out of the dull-drums. It's surprisingly deeper and more akin to poker in bluffing than anything else.
Smooth, polished play leads to deceptively easy flow. But this game has some bite. For Feld, it is mild. For regular Euro players, it is a light feast. For me, I enjoy it and will recommend it as my new king of medium/light Euro play.
Excellent co-op. Feels very thematic, invites loads of discussion around the table and is exceedingly challenging. It is a sandbox game for sure (with sand!). My only concern now is the difficulty. Is it even possible to defeat this game? The first scenario, maybe so. But the others? No way unless the cards fall exactly right and the dice do not betray you.
Most definitely a well established, classical game that pretty much anyone can play. It is essentially rummy with tiles, but with an important twist: you can re-arrange sets and runs to fit your needs. This makes the game a bit thinky - albeit not too much. So quite fun when in the right mood with the right folks.
I got this mainly for research - and my fondest of all things Talisman. After half dozen plays, it isn't as exciting for me and I don't play it any more - but I really do like the theme. Although the movement dice are really far too complex for what they do, the biggest strike is the length of play. It also suffers from a problem often found in fantasy board games: once you explore all its crazy cards and encounters, the jig is up, the surprises are all opened, and all that's left is cleaning up after the party. There's no fun left to be had.
Second edition is an improvement and I would especially recommend the character decks. They make the game much more interesting. I've never played the replacement boards, but I imagine that would help tremendously.
Its a Euro-worker placement game - and by that I mean it has resources in the form of tracks and workers that are used to take actions. The personal board that tracks your railroad building is first rate albeit nearly overwhelming with options. That's one of the reasons the game takes a bit of time to get off the table, but I don't think it overstays its welcome: there's alot of game to enjoy here. However, I do take pause with some aspects. As fun as the building rails system is - and how counter intuitive! - it still feels like once you play the game a few times, the surprises are essentially over. To be sure there's lots of things yet to explore at that point - but you know the paths of victory and what's left is nuances, not revolutions.
It is *very* good for all that - better with perhaps 3-4 and not 5 (the game just lasts too long). The components and general design are very polished. So I like it and would suggest playing at least a few more times.
San Juan is surprisingly new to me this month. I've played Puerto Rico for years and rate it highly. I've played Race for the Galaxy and didn't enjoy it - and still don't after many (apparently required to grok it) plays. So what could fit in the middle? San Juan! Bought it at my FLGS and got in a play with my wife - my favorite 2-player gamer! We had a good time with it, but like Trajan, I wasn't blown away. It feels a bit ho-hum somehow. I think it is better for me and mine than Race without doubt because it runs smoother and faster and (yes) easier. So I give it decent marks and will very likely get it to the table many times in the future.
EDIT: More plays (just 2-player) means I like it more. There is a bit of luck with it, but I *think* skill still wins the day. There are some pretty interesting cards to play and I'd like to try it more just to see this aspect.
Party games are generally not my favorite, but this one is alright with the right crowd. Fun people will have fun, dull people will be rather dull. It does have party game magic: explainable in 30 seconds, involves everyone and has room for plenty of laughs. I'll recommend it when we have 6 or more people in the room.
Yeah, it's one of those party-type games that a dozen people can play (although the package only supports a lesser number). It's right up there with the Dictionary game - not something I long for, but will find myself playing when surrounded by non-gamers who want some word-y fun. I'll never suggest it, but will tolerate a play of it.
It has a very classic feel to it - even down to the odd way a Primiera slips the "Ace" up in scoring. It is very simple to understand with great card play. I've not played it yet with teams as is more properly done. But even with 3, it is quite fun.
This was the game of GenCon 2012 for me. The beginner cards are great to get started, but the interactive cards really bring this game to life. Many cards are overly powerful and it plays a touch long with a full table of 4. Still, I love everything else about this game - the production values are great, the interactions are fun, and it plays so smoothly. Really great game!
No, it's fine. It's just that after we finally beat the board - I'm not thrilled about the game anymore (it's trivial to beat the board with 6-7 players, seems impossible with 3). But a few in the game group still love it. It also scales well and is gateway in complexity. So we'll be playing again.
Now SHH is brilliant. I love it. It's an amazing piece of design. It's a co-op game where you are collectively spelling words. Now stay with me (you already know I dislike spelling games). There are exactly 26 cards - one for each letter. The vowels (and Y) are placed in the middle, face up. You deal the other letters out to all players. This works well with 2 or more players. So here's what happens: on your turn, you play one letter. You can play a vowel from the middle instead. The next player has to *add* a letter to the end or score the word (if it is in fact a word). If they add a letter, the word gets longer. If you get past 5 letters and use a vowel, you can flip the vowel and make it worth 1 point. Vowels can be used repeatedly, but all the other letters score just one time and can only be used once during the entire game. There are a few 'pass' cards as well - but only a limited number. The idea? Make as many words as you can.
Oh and by the way? You can't talk during the game. At all. Hence the name. So you can play this game in the library. No problem.
It's a beautiful affair and even better than Hanabi in my estimation because it is so beautifully and elegantly crafted. We've managed to use all but 3 letters but I doubt you could ever use all the letters. But that's what makes it fun - a never ending challenge I think.
I like the fancy mechanics we've heard so much about - a truly impressive accomplishment. The combat tower works perfectly in speed and presentation. The rules are well worked and beautiful. However, it invites a terrible analysis paralysis problem - so be careful if you play with very thoughtful min/max type players. Perhaps a timer will help during the planning phase. Still, such a nice flow in this game. Once you 'get' the game system, it plays reasonably fast (although brace yourself for a few hours of play) and is highly engaging.
My first play was truly stressful - and not in a particularly good way. I was teaching the game to my kids and my nephew - a four player game of newbies. We suffered through some AP, but even so, the game played in about 45 minutes. My second play was better, but there seems to be some noticeable imbalances to the game: first player has an advantage and sorcerer is powerful. Subsequent plays - now it's becoming more strategic, more interesting decisions, better play of certain race combinations. The game is improving - and so is my rating.
Pretty much a kids game still, but fun too. For the price, it's a great buy. You'll find yourself playing it repeatedly because a game lasts about 10 minutes. Give it a year, however, and this game will be in yard sales across the country.
It delivers what was expected: it's a better Risk. And that's what I wanted! It doesn't play terribly fast with 5+ players at the table - the final round (or perhaps two) are quite filled with turns for all players. But due to the turn deck, you don't generally have to wait too long for any single turn. The special cards are often enough a decisive factor - but not to the point of unbalancing the game. And dice rolling obviously has an impact. Still, over all, if you want Risk but better - this is a very good bet. I like it.
Certainly an approachable incredibly produced game. Game play is very easy to understand: take chips or buy cards (or perhaps reserve a card). But there is a joy derived from buying cards, a tension in wondering if your fellow players will interfere (knowingly? unknowingly?), and a rush when your combination of cards lets you buy the 'expensive' things. It's very brisk - there's a snowball effect at the end which spins everyone headlong inside 40 minutes (or even less). I put it as a very original gateway game - nothing like Ticket to Ride or Carcassonne, but equal in stature and family fun.
Loved it. Now need to settle into a few more games to see if it truly holds up. There's quite a bit to explore yet - not to mention playing *both* sides of the conflict. If one is seeking flaws, I think there are three. First, the game is quite long - allow 3+ hours for a first play (and it may not go down much with repeated plays). Second, there are small corner cases with cards that create conflicts to be resolved mainly be common sense. Third, the order in which you draw cards has a significant effect on the potential of the outcome. Still, the game is wonderful.
Delightful in every way. I was a fan of Wings of War and this theme is far more enjoyable. The miniatures is what makes this incredible. But the game play is smartly easy. It is typical to rush a game - its so easy to move and attack, you find yourself often not planning much and crashing into each other. And that's not even a bad strategy if you have enough low-cost ships. Anyhow, I've sunk alot into the miniatures which admittedly might be fairly priced for the quality, but still can be very expensive. But whatever. Love it.
An incredibly tight, well designed game where every decision seems important. Very thinky and surprisingly only slightly mathy (which is a blessing for me). The strategy is deep and cut throat and there's zero luck involved. I agree with others - the basic game is wonderfully light in rules and plenty engaging even for the most experienced gamer. Another game that deserves the accolades.
After a few more plays, my rating is dropping a bit. I feel I've seen the paths through this game and I'm slowly losing interest. Also, it drags on a bit long - depending on the players of course. Still, it remains enjoyable because it's so much fun - worker placement and rolling dice in an extremely nice production.
It offers up just what you'd expect, a game very much along the lines of China or other tight area control games. But what is a surprise is the depth of play! It's small, tight and beautiful, but it's also certainly dry as toast. I like the various ways to advance your particular city-state by either adding pieces are taking them away. Position is also important and also keeping track of what opponents are looking for in treasure. I like this game.
This is a fast paced, easy to play miniatures game offering nice variety and high quality production. It's easy enough in fact for nearly any age to understand (with some help on the special abilities). Yet it has great tactical play. It's brutal and quick - fine features for this style of game. I like it quite alot!
This is very simple - so that makes it a family game, even younger one could play it. It is seriously luck based too - nearly zero strategy - but somehow I still enjoy it. I do like the back-stabby aspects quite a bit. And plays fast - so that makes the pain more painless. The production is good (all the wood bits are well done) - but the graphic design is bad. No regrets owning it and will very likely get it back to the table again.
Another gentle card game in my collection, cute and completely approachable. And again, makes no pretense to be anything other than just that. Here you pick cards, and pass the rest, trying to get the right sets to score. It's very fun - a passing fancy and nearly the definition of light filler. Fluffy and frothy - no weight whatsoever. But for that, a great introduction to drafting as a mechanic.
TAJ was ok I'd say - a voting affair where you're trying to get your colors where you want them while others are doing the same. You propose a swap of two cards to get one in scoring position. Majority vote wins - unless you play your one-time veto/override vote. Scoring is crazy in that one color is great for you, one is average, and one actually scores negative points. It's a neat trick to pack it into a tiny game - so I still admire it just for the craft. Might try it again.
I'd like it more if it wasn't so harshly confusing to a color-blind person! The yellow and green goals are really similar to me. And the tiles! Garish in colors to begin with, but why couldn't they stick to some clear graphic design to separate pink and green appropriately. And again - they yellow is awful! Mechanically, it's a high luck affair - but cute and approachable. If it was just colorblind friendly!
It's more a fun-loving distraction than a game, but I enjoy it. It's easy to appreciate and passes the time. The scoring isn't needed - and isn't used when I play. So you never win - you simply enjoy the time with friends laughing at the results.
Excellent game with many interesting dependencies and unique play mechanics. Building cities and gaining power under strained conditions leads to excruciatingly difficult decisions. The various races in the game play quite differently and are wildly (?) unbalanced. But this hardly matters because discovering optimal play is delightful! I love it.
I really like this one. It's the perfect step up from Ticket to Ride into more beefy games. Lots of nice decisions and plays very fast. Great game bits. Wonderful all around. I'd like to play it more often.
Classic - but really a bit too complex for your average card player. Clearly a partner game - well crafted with sticky bits on the side. So I like it pretty well, will play on pretty much any occasion (prefer it to many partner card games), but would rather play Double Pinnacle or Bridge.
I enjoy playing this with new game players. Great game to teach in about 10 minutes. Everyone seems to understand and play well. This is another game I'll be playing my entire life. So I give it high marks and often recommend a game.
This is my current favorite Dungeon Crawl game. It does many things right and little wrong. It does play really well with 2-3 players. Downtime is far too much for more players - do not play this game with more than 4! There's also numerous difficulties with the rules which makes it obtuse for new players (this is not a gate way game) and of course, the hundreds of cards - you need to be flexible with house-ruling any confusion points. I still love this game after several plays, so my current rating will stand for some time.
A very solid, fast 2-player trick-taking card game which fills an important niche in my collection. It is well balanced and crafty - you can 'run' a hand if you play well, but to go too quickly to one color can later be ruinous. Any player who enjoys trick-based card games is sure to find this one a real winner. And the new version is far nicer than the old.
I've played Tsuro several times as a filler at game gatherings. But this one for me is better in every way. Wonderful production values (love the plastic ship pieces) and fun randomness of the dragons. It's a really smart game that supports 8 players (!) and that's the part that truly tips it over the top for me. I have so few games that I enjoy with that number of people.
Plays much like a collectible card game and certainly evokes the theme of Doctor Who, this game is surprisingly complete and professional. Quite enjoyable and finishes fast enough to want 'just one more game'. I really like it.
Good game with very subtle strategic elements. It's certainly rougher than 1960. Several design elements seem unnecessary at first blush - e.g. adding 1 more card in play after turn 3? Different roll values in the space race? The dice mechanic for realignment feels overly complicated - old school and unkempt. Of course, the GMT components are poor. Lastly, it plays a touch long and plods along - much like the years it portrays! But setting all that aside, the historic feel is just right and it has a grandness to it which I completely love. The push and pull of superpower's machinations comes off with great aplomb - a feat in itself. So all in all, a great game that I willingly play - when I have the three hours required.
The gimmick of the wheel is fetching, but this game is more than that. It is worker placement - pay to put and pull to get the benefit. But the paths are quite fun and the tension is rich - always one short of what you want. It plays fast if folks plan a bit. There is a bums rush to certain scoring areas - and that's the wonderful conflict in the game. There's significant replay due to the random buildings and monuments for end game scoring. I really like it.
As far as word games go, this one ain't too bad. It's easy and everyone can play. Best scores are had by fairly simple plays - stacking a single letter in the right place can result in 20 or more points easily. I'm just not a word game fan.
Currently my very favorite game. Yes, it is long and this is probably the one quality I hold against it. But I think what I enjoy the most is the way the game develops over a play. It truly does build up into a crowded city with price and value fluctuating and wonderful events wrecking and rewarding everyone. The vocations are thematic and strategically important, the political offices are a joy and offer large end game points - and it plays very easily albiet driving you to complete analysis vapor lock. Highly replayable - this one is a winner for me. I just hope I can get it to the table!
Shea says this game is a rip from other rummy games, but I'm not an experience rummy player - so it all felt pretty original to me. I really like the ease and speed of play - smooth and neat. The cards from Artscow are really nice. I was whipped in this game twice in a row, but still look forward to my next game, so that's a good indication of a very fun game. Well done!
Played several times. It's a simple wargame reflecting a deep understanding of elegance in strategy games that celebrates dice combat. Lovingly crafted, well balanced (except for misfortune in random tile placement) all from an amazing Indie game designer. The tiles could really use a face lift and the reference card needs work. The game can wind on too long although there are alternate hacky endings - e.g. everyone roll a die each turn and when all roll a 6, the game ends? But still, I respect the effort and enjoy the experience. Well done!
Although it has some original appeal and interesting combinations, the dice are very fiddly. Paying your low roll to place on top is not smooth. Moving is very difficult and adds killer decisions - make a wrong move and you can't recover. It feels bad when you're behind late as well. Maybe this is a game that is just too tight? The unique player powers are lopsided I think - even though most are fine. I'll need to play again I think.
Although the card art is stellar, very little else stands out in this pedestrian bidding game. The card effects are uninteresting. The gimmick of knowing a card that is 'fake' can't really be leveraged in play and only allows for a snicker when an opponent over bids. Over all, unoffensive, but also rather dull.
Totally fast fun. I love the way it feels like you're actually flying around a field shooting at each other in WW I. I recommended it - albeit a bit pricey it you go for all the miniatures - which you definitely should! The FFG base game is a complete rip off. Don't bother with it. Get the miniatures. Get the play mat (it's a beauty). And set your mind for a very fast miniatures game.
I created a sweet PnP version with wood bits and fancy graphics. Got the cards from ArtsCow - and love the results. Now we're playing this like crazy. The game plays as expected: wild, random, whacky fun slinging spells, house-ruling as needed and running around with treasures stuffed under your robed arm. One of the few all out Ameri-trash games that I declare fun!
Well, it's Yahtzee so it only gets so good. It's approachable by non-gamers because of this fact too. But thankfully, Free for All is a bit better and a bit more thinky during your turn. Nice components - all plasticy and fun. No score pads (hurrah!) and plays rapidly even with a full complement of people.
After a few plays, this game is already moving up for me. Couple of things. First, the depth is just beginning to be made clear to me - so replayability is high. Second, it plays in a time slot that no other game I have does: 45 min. I understand the caravan strategy - and if your opponents don't, you can win rather handily. However, I still enjoy playing this very fine game.
This game wins on several levels for me: it has a terrific theme for non-gamers (including my kids), extremely easy and fast play, *and* decent strategic depth - even fiercely so with older, experienced players. Really, really good.